avant-garde/experimental/independent directors

by vlad-vdvd | created - 3 months ago | updated - 1 month ago | Public

1. René Clair

Writer | Le silence est d'or

René Clair was born on November 11, 1898 in Paris, France as René-Lucien Chomette. He was a writer and director, known for Man About Town (1947), The Grand Maneuver (1955) and Beauties of the Night (1952). He was married to Bronia Clair. He died on March 15, 1981 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, ...

2. Dziga Vertov

Director | Chelovek s kino-apparatom

Born in Bialystok, Poland, studied music and enrolled in St. Petersburg Neurological Institute in 1916. Worked on first Soviet newsreel, Kinonedelia (1918-1919), then on subsequent newsreel series (inc. Kinopravda, 1922-1925).

3. Luis Buñuel

Writer | Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie

The father of cinematic Surrealism and one of the most original directors in the history of the film medium, Luis Buñuel was given a strict Jesuit education (which sowed the seeds of his obsession with both religion and subversive behavior), and subsequently moved to Madrid to study at the ...

4. Andy Warhol

Director | Blue Movie

Andrew Warhol's father, Ondrej, came from the Austria-Hungary Empire (now Slovakia) in 1912, and sent for his mother, Julia Zavackyová Warholová, in 1921. His father worked as a construction worker and later as a coal miner. Around some time, the family moved to Pittsburgh. During his teenage years...

5. Lev Kuleshov

Director | Po zakonu

Lev Kuleshov was a Russian director who used the editing technique known as the "Kuleshov effect." Although some of the editing innovations, such as crosscutting were used by other directors before him, Kuleshov was the first to use it in the Soviet Russia. he was driving a Ford sports car amidst ...

6. Hans Richter

Director | Dreams That Money Can Buy

Hans Richter was born on April 6, 1888 in Berlin, Germany as Johannes Siegfried Richter. He was a director and writer, known for Dreams That Money Can Buy (1947), 8 X 8: A Chess Sonata in 8 Movements (1957) and Race Symphony (1928). He died on February 1, 1976 in Locarno, Switzerland.

8. Fernand Léger

Art_department | L'inhumaine

Fernand Léger was born on February 4, 1881 in Argentan, Orne, France as Joseph Fernand Henri Léger. He was a director and actor, known for The Inhuman Woman (1924), Ballet mécanique (1924) and Dreams That Money Can Buy (1947). He was married to Nadia Khodasevich and Jeanne-Augustine Lohy. He...

9. Man Ray

Director | Home Movies

American painter and artist in various media who participated in a few films. He helped found the Dada movement and was the prime American participant in the Surrealist movement. An American expatriate to Paris in the 1920s, he was a member of the so-called "Lost Generation" of creative minds ...

10. Stan Brakhage

Director | The Loom

Stan Brakhage was born on January 14, 1933 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA as Robert Sanders. He was a director and cinematographer, known for The Loom (1986), The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him (2000) and Persian Series (2001). He was married to Marilyn Jull and Jane Brakhage. He died on March 9,...

11. Kenneth Anger

Director | Fireworks

Kenneth Anger grew up in Hollywood and started out as a child actor, but his interest in filmmaking was evident at an early age: he made his first film, "Who's Been Rocking My Dreamboat?", at age 9. Anger developed into one of the pioneers of the American underground film movement. His gritty, ...

12. Jonas Mekas

Director | The Brig

Jonas Mekas, born December 24, 1922, Semeniskiai, Birzai, Lithuania, is a director, cinematographer, editor, writer, actor, poet, artist and publicist. More than 60 years of tireless work in film, arts and media has earned him the epithet "The Godfather of American Avant-Garde Cinema". In 1944 ...

13. Shirley Clarke

Director | The Cool World

Shirley Clarke was born on October 2, 1919 in New York City, New York, USA as Shirley Brimberg. She was a director and editor, known for The Cool World (1963), Skyscraper (1960) and The Connection (1961). She was married to Bert Clarke. She died on September 23, 1997.

14. Michael Snow

Director | Wavelength

Central figure of the American avant-garde. An artist who made an isolated animated short, A to Z (1956), Snow concentrated on his painting career until moving to New York in 1963. After attending avant-garde film screenings organized by critic-filmmaker Jonas Mekas and turning out a second film, ...

16. Hollis Frampton

Director | Information

Hollis Frampton was born on March 11, 1936 in Ohio, USA. He was a director and editor, known for Information (1966), The Birth of Magellan: Cadenza XIV (1980) and The Birth of Magellan: Mindfall I (1980). He died on March 30, 1984 in New York, USA.

17. Alberto Cavalcanti

Director | O Canto do Mar

Born in Brazil in 1897, Alberto Cavalcanti began his film career in France in 1920, working as writer, art director and director. He directed the avant-garde documentary Nothing But Time (1926) ("Nothing but Time"), a portrait of the lives of Parisian workers in a single day. He moved to England in...

18. Jean Vigo

Writer | Zéro de conduite: Jeunes diables au collège

Jean Vigo had bad health since he was a child. Son of anarchist militant Miguel Almareyda, he also never really recovered from his father's mysterious death in jail when he was 12. Abandoned by his mother, he passed from boarding school to boarding school. Aged 23, through meetings with people ...

19. Oskar Fischinger

Cinematographer | Frau im Mond

He prepared a film which was originally named Radio Dynamics, tightly synchronized to Ralph Rainger's tune "Radio Dynamics". This short film was planned for inclusion in the feature film The Big Broadcast of 1937 (1936). However, Paramount only planned to release in black-and-white film, which was ...

20. Maya Deren

Director | Meshes of the Afternoon

Maya Deren came to the USA in 1922 as Eleanora Derenkowsky. Together with her father, a psychiatrist, and her mother, an artist, she fled the pogroms against Russian Jews. She studied journalism and political science in at Syracuse University in New York, finishing her BA at NYU in June 1936 and ...

21. Gregory J. Markopoulos

Director | Twice a Man

Gregory J. Markopoulos was born on March 12, 1928 in Toledo, Ohio, USA as Giorgios John Markopoulos. He was a director and writer, known for Twice a Man (1964), Galini (1993) and The Illiac Passion (1967). He died on November 12, 1992 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

22. Edwin S. Porter

Director | The White Pearl

In the late 1890s Porter worked as both a projectionist and mechanic, eventually becoming director and cameraman for the Edison Manufacturing Company. Influenced by both the "Brighton school" and the story films of Georges Méliès, Porter went on to make important shorts such as Life of an American ...

inventor of cross-cutting and the narrative style

23. Oscar Micheaux

Writer | Within Our Gates

Oscar Micheaux, the first African-American to produce a feature-length film (The Homesteader (1919)) and a sound feature-length film (The Exile (1931)), is not only a major figure in American film for these milestones, but because his oeuvre is a window into the American history and psyche ...

24. François Truffaut

Writer | La nuit américaine

French director François Truffaut began to assiduously go to the movies at age seven. He was also a great reader but not a good pupil. He left school at 14 and started working. In 1947, aged 15, he founded a film club and met André Bazin, a French critic, who became his protector. Bazin helped the ...

pioneer of the French New Wave

25. Jacques Rivette

Director | La belle noiseuse

Although François Truffaut has written that the New Wave began "thanks to Rivette," the films of this masterful French director are not well known. Rivette, like his "Cahiers du Cinéma" colleagues Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Éric Rohmer, did graduate to filmmaking but, like Rohmer...

pioneer of the French New Wave

26. Claude Chabrol

Director | Le beau Serge

Claude Chabrol was born on June 24, 1930 in Paris, France. He was a director and writer, known for Le Beau Serge (1958), Story of Women (1988) and La Cérémonie (1995). He was married to Aurore Chabrol, Stéphane Audran and Agnès Goute. He died on September 12, 2010 in Paris.

pioneer of the French New Wave

27. Jean-Luc Godard

Director | Pierrot le fou

Jean-Luc Godard was born in Paris on December 3, 1930, the second of four children in a bourgeois Franco-Swiss family. His father was a doctor who owned a private clinic, and his mother came from a preeminent family of Swiss bankers. During World War II Godard became a naturalized citizen of ...

pioneer of the French New Wave

28. Maya Deren

Director | Meshes of the Afternoon

Maya Deren came to the USA in 1922 as Eleanora Derenkowsky. Together with her father, a psychiatrist, and her mother, an artist, she fled the pogroms against Russian Jews. She studied journalism and political science in at Syracuse University in New York, finishing her BA at NYU in June 1936 and ...

29. Guy Maddin

Director | The Saddest Music in the World

Guy Maddin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to Herdis Maddin (a hair-dresser) and Charles "Chas" Maddin (grain clerk and general manager of the Maroons, a Winnipeg hockey team). Maddin studied economics at the University of Winnipeg, working as a bank manager, house painter, and photographic...

30. E. Elias Merhige

Director | Shadow of the Vampire

E. Elias Merhige was born in 1964 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He is a director and writer, known for Shadow of the Vampire (2000), Begotten (1990) and Suspect Zero (2004).

31. David Lynch

Writer | Twin Peaks

Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future ...

32. Robert Wiene

Director | Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Robert Wiene was born on April 24, 1873 in Breslau, Silesia, Germany. He was a writer and director, known for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), The Hands of Orlac (1924) and L'autre (1930). He died on July 17, 1938 in Paris, France.

german expressionism

33. Fritz Lang

Actor | Le mépris

Fritz Lang was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1890. His father managed a construction company. His mother, Pauline Schlesinger, was Jewish but converted to Catholicism when Lang was ten. After high school, he enrolled briefly at the Technische Hochschule Wien and then started to train as a painter. ...

pioneer of german expresionism

34. F.W. Murnau

Director | Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

F.W. Murnau was a German film director. He was greatly influenced by Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Shakespeare and Ibsen plays he had seen at the age of 12, and became a friend of director Max Reinhardt. During World War I he served as a company commander at the eastern front and was in the German air ...

pioneer of german expresionism



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